H1-B visas are temporary US visas offered to experienced workers or educated professionals seeking entry into the country. The visa has a minimum requirement of a university degree or equivalent, which can translate to three (3) years of approved work experience for each year that would have otherwise been spent acquiring a degree.
As such, every three (3) years of work experience translates to one (1) year of ‘university education’. The H1-B visa is initially valid for three years with only one extension option of an additional three years.
Extending an H1-B Visa
Should the H1-B visa holder wish to extend their stay beyond the current maximum of six years, the employer needs to have filed for labor certification using the I-140 petition, else, 365 days prior to filing for the H1-B extension, the I-485 application for Adjustment of Status should have been filed. This extension is given in one-year increments. However, the applicant can receive a three-year extension if the employment-based green card process has successfully completed the first two stages.
At the moment, there are no more expedited H1-B visas issued, since the USCIS suspended premium processing for H-1B visas until February 19, 2019.
Maximum of 65,000 H1-B visas issued
The H1-B has a of maximum of 65,000 visas issued each year, known as a quota. 6,800 of these are set aside for applicants from Chile and Singapore under a special category of H1-B1 visa programs, and the remaining 58,200 are availed to applicants worldwide. An additional 20,000 visas, excluded from the 65,000 limit, are issued to master’s degree or higher applicants.
Gaining permanent residence in the US through the H1B visa has increasingly become limited forcing many to opt for the EB5 visa as an alternative, especially considering that other options are even more limited.
EB-5 Visa as an alternative to H1-B
One of the issues that the majority of EB-5 applicants runs into before applying, is that all other alternative employment-based immigration options are so difficult that they seem to make it impossible to successfully immigrate under the current system.
As a result of the immigrant visa backlog delays that run into multiple years, US employers are unwilling to are unwilling to sponsor the foreign immigrant if they will not be able to benefit from their immediate employment and labour. As such, immigrants would rather choose the EB-5 investment visa as an alternative.
H1-B program is difficult for employers
Obtaining a suitable work visa for qualified applicants and even those with a willing employer to take them on once the application is successful, is often difficult. It is even that much harder for applicants who have not attained at least a bachelor’s degree.
In total, the H-1B visa application process takes six months, a wait that many employers are not willing to make, and since the process is filled with uncertainty of whether the applicant will be granted the visa, makes it much more less of an attractive option for employers.
This has forced many applicants to turn to the EB-5 program as a more promising alternative of gaining US employment and citizenship.